EDITORIAL: Insurance should cost more for new drivers

It is fair that new drivers pay more for ICBC insurance. 

Before you roll up your newspaper and throw it out the car window or start swearing under this editorial online in frustration, park that road rage and read on.

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There is no question that the new risk-related insurance fees for inexperienced drivers may hit some Squamish families hard in the wallet, especially for those seeking optional coverage. 

We asked ICBC what the average rate is for a new B.C. driver, but the spokesperson said it is too early to see an average. 

Attorney General David Eby told Victoria News the biggest increase to basic insurance to be paid by a new driver is 12 per cent, or about $200 per year.

That doesn’t include optional add-ons, such as collision, comprehensive, Road Star and the like. 

And ICBC deserves raised eyebrows in the rearview mirror for how it has been run — billions in debt and Nicolas Jimenez, its president, and CEO received $468,783 in total compensation for 2018/2019, according to the provincial government. 

And like most things fee-based — insurance, fines, taxes, gas prices and the like — the increase will hurt lower-income families the most. 

That sucks and can be bang-the-steering wheel frustrating.

Reason number 102 that the Sea to Sky Corridor needs regional transit. 

But these ICBC changes for new drivers that came into effect Sept. 1 actually make sense, nonetheless. 

It is time to put the fees and accountability on those most likely to cost the system money. 

New drivers are 3.5 times more at risk of being involved in a serious crash than experienced drivers. When they do crash, the incidents are much more likely to be serious. 

The new system does reward inexperienced drivers over time. Risk declines as drivers gain more hands-on experience. They also accrue discounts with each year crash-free.

After one year of crash-free driving, a driver will pay nine per cent less than a brand new driver. The discounts continue up to 52 per cent.

And while some people with ‘riskier’ profiles are seeing increases in their premiums, some longterm safe drivers will save money on their insurance. That seems just. 

Though change is never easy, this isn’t the first time we have had to adjust when it comes to driving. If you earned your license in B.C. in the 1980s, for example, you merely took the written knowledge test, practised with dad or mom a few times, and then you took the road test.

Pass and you could drive away, equal to any experienced driver on the road. 

Graduated licensing, which began in B.C. in 1998, makes much more sense than the laissez faire system of a few decades ago and few question it these days. 

Most of the new changes will be looked at the same way in a few years. 

 

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